Tag Archives: Malcolm X

On Plato’s Republic, 6

Index to this series

Book V of Plato’s Republic features three of what Socrates calls waves or breakers:

  1. That women serve alongside men as guardians.
  2. That women be bred with men like animals and not know their children.
  3. That philosophers rule as kings, or kings become philosophers.

Such outlandish injunctions will have Socrates swept away, though he does not say by whom or what.

Our sixth scheduled reading covers the first two of the three waves, in Stephanus pages 449a–71e. Socrates is induced to spell out details adumbrated in the last reading, Book IV, concerning the sharing of women and children among the guardians.

Wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice
Profesörler Sitesi, Altınova, Balıkesir, Turkey
September 20, 2021


  • Midwifery. A wave in Greek is also a fetus, and Socrates uses related words in the Theaetetus to discuss his calling as a midwife.
  • Contradictions. Socrates says in the Theaetetus that only the infertile can be midwives, who in turn do the best matchmaking, although now in the Republic he will now effectively assign matchmaking to Glaucon. This is one of several examples of Socratic weaselliness.
  • Etymology of ΚΥΜΑ. “Cyma,” “cyme,” “church,” “cave,” “accumulate,” and enceinte all happen to be cognate.
  • Where We Are. As we begin the current reading, Socrates gets sidetracked from discussing the kinds of badness in the city and the soul.
  • A New Start (449a–51b). Polemarchus et al. make Socrates talk about sex instead.
  • Freedom and Truth. An excursus on Socrates and Malcolm X, journalism and written words.
  • First Wave (451b–7c)
  • Second Wave (457c–71e)

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